Rep. Lynn Jenkins: Dems Need 'to Sit Down at the Table'

Tuesday, 08 Oct 2013 01:08 PM

By Lisa Barron and John Bachman

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Republicans are waiting for Democrats to join them at the negotiating table to discuss ending the shutdown that has paralyzed the federal government, Rep. Lynn Jenkins tells Newsmax.

Everything the House has done to fund the government has been thwarted by inaction in the Democrat-led Senate, the Kansas Republican says.

"Right now, we need someone to sit down at the table to talk to us," she told Newsmax. "We've sent numerous (funding resolutions) to the Senate and they've all been killed, we've sent appropriations bills earlier this year, and recently, just in the last week, we sent eight funding bills to fund critical parts of the government and it's been rejected back. "

Jenkins is a three-term congresswoman who represents Kansas' Second Congressional district, which stretches down the eastern side of the Sunflower State. Before joining Congress she was state treasurer.

She said Democrats are to blame for the impasse in Washington.

"They continue to maintain this position that they won't speak to us about the things that we disagree on and so right now, it's not the time that's the problem it's the fact that no one will sit down and have a conversation with us about how we move forward to solve this nation's fiscal mess," she said.

"Small business can't continue to spend more money than they take in," she said. "Households — individuals in my district in Kansas — can’t spend more money than they take in year after year after year. Who in their right mind believes the federal government can continue to operate their finances this way? If not now, when will America ever fix the problem?"

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As for President Obama’s remarks Monday challenging House Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on a "clean" continuing resolution — to fund government without tying it to defunding his healthcare act, Jenkins said, "We're not going to have a vote on a clean CR. What we're going to do is have a discussion about how to solve this nation's fiscal mess.

"Why are we continuing to kick the can down the road? Why don't we solve the nation's problem right now? We have many opportunities to do that," she added.

"We have $17 trillion in debt," she said. "This president has continued to rack up over $1 trillion deficits every year that he's been in office, he presented a budget to us at the beginning of the year that never ever balances, and we came here as a majority in the House to fix the problem. So we're going to have a discussion about that and there's no time like the present.

Jenkins, a member of the House's Tea Party Caucus said the time is now right to talk about tax reform and Republican plans to save Medicare and the social security fund from bankruptcy.

Jenkins also outlined the concessions Republicans might accept in order to raise the debt ceiling, saying, "What we've talked about are cuts and reforms that would equal dollar for dollar in an increase in the debt ceiling."

Tax reform, she said, would have a "huge economic benefit," and that could be counted towards the debt ceiling, along with cuts in Medicare and changes to social security

"All of those things would add up. So, again, we're just talking about cuts and reforms that would offset any debt ceiling increase."

With less than two weeks to go until the debt limit is reached, Jenkins said she believed those things can be accomplished.

"The only thing stopping us is actually having a discussion about it and I just don't believe the president and Senate Democrats can sustain this my-way-or-the-highway, we-refuse-to-have-a-conversation mentality on a going forward basis," she asserted.

"That's just not reasonable. Every family knows if they've got some things they don't agree on, the only way they get to the bottom of them is to sit down and have a conversation."

As for where she thinks we'll be two weeks from today, Jenkins said, "It's entirely up to Senate Democrats and the president. If they want to come to the table and have a discussion with us, we've been very reasonable. We'd be happy to come up with a plan to go forward. If they continue to hold out, I'm afraid that they might cause some damage to the economy."

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